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Weather History and Climate (200 B.C. to 150 B.C.)

250 B.C. to 200 B.C. | 200 B.C. to 150 B.C. | 150 B.C. to 100 B.C.

CLIMATE (200-150 B.C.):

This is the coldest 100-year cycle that has yet been encountered. Since the last cold-dry climax at 235 B.C., there have been no large warm-wet peaks. Consistent with this fact is the lack of any great era of nation building, although Rome has gradually been extending her conquests. It is typical for strong nations to colonize during cold times and this means coming into conflict with primitive tribes in uncivilized areas. Ordinarily, the resulting fighting is desultory, but during nation building time, this kind of warfare reaches a climax along the international wars, because the primitive tribes unify into federations at such times and are not only more aggressive in spirit, but militarily they are more powerful. Rome did a good deal of this type of expanding during cold times, as England did also over many centuries. During the last long cold phase (the 19th century) the European countries partitioned Africa, Russia spread across Siberia, and we spread westward across the North American continent. The motive behind this type of expansion is interest in exploration and commerce, rather than political domination.

HISTORY (200-150 B.C.):

Even though the warm phases were now running short, the culture pattern turned warm when the time came, although not to the extent that it would have done had the climatic shifts been stronger.

During the long and severe cold-dry period that centered on 170 B.C., Roman troops stationed in the outer provinces, as in Epirus, were out of control; the Syrians plundered in Palestine, not as organized armies carrying out a political plan, but as armed mobs. This is land piracy. The Greek City States were in a sorry plight. Sparta was "corrupt, self-indulgent, without loyalty or religion, down to the swineherd." Watch for the numerous evidences of a similar type of decline during long cold periods in other centuries and in other parts of the world. All this is typical of the anarchy and dissolution that prevailed during long, cold periods when strong governments of any kind are lacking. It is the type of situation which makes for a "Dark Age."

Recall that during the two previous cold periods the culture pattern turned mechanistic as it always does. In one of them there flourished the famous Epicurus and his pain-pleasure theory of life (called Hedonism), and a school of philosophers known as the Stoics; then in the next cold period Stoicism revived again. Greek sculpture underwent a significant change during these cold periods. It lost for the most part, its original dignity, force and reserve; it turned away from gods to nature, i.e., to portraits of actual people including children. The familiar Laocoon group with the father and sons struggling with the serpents reflects the violence and action that crowded this per iod of Greek history. (The time between Alexander the Great and the annexation of Greece to Rome in 155 B.C. is known as the Hellenistic Period of Greek history.) The Fighting Gladiator is another example of the realistic, action-packed art of the period. as is also Athena Overcoming the Giant. This title speaks for itself. In all of these works we see the chaotic vitality and disorganization of cold times, as well as the prevalence of sentimental, superficial feelings that so often stultify romantic movements in art. Notice from the blue culture items in Chart 9 how consistently the scholarship of this period followed the mechanistic cold phase pattern geography, grammar, agriculture, the weather," comic poetry, and so on. (The emphasis on geography during cold times happens again and again, as we have already pointed out.)

Before the anarchy and civil strife broke out, civilizations the world over apparently went through the expected climax in despotism and decadence during the hot drought phase of the cycle.

There are some important differences between the behavior of peoples when it is cold and wet and their behavior when it is cold and dry. People are more stable and tolerant when it is wet than when it is dry. Watch for the prevalence of anarchy, piracy, and migrations when the long, cold periods get dry. These are blue items numbered in yellow. When it is cold and wet, more of the items will be concerned with democratic reforms.

 Information from Weather Science Foundation.